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Eastern Oyster

Crassostrea virginica

Brown eastern oyster looking up ready to eatMax Size: 20+cm (8in)
Habitat: Shallow waters, saltwater bays and estuaries from New England to the Gulf of Mexico
Diet: Plankton






Fun Facts:

  • Oysters are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they change sex as they grow; 90% of oysters under a year old are male and most older oysters are female
  • Their scientific name means, “Thick oyster from Virginia”
  • Eastern Oyster beds form habitat for many other creatures, improve water quality, and reduce bank erosion; features, when combined with their high relative population, that characterize them as a foundation species
  • Eastern Oysters used to be plentiful in the Hudson River but due to over harvesting, pollution, and habitat destruction, population levels have plummeted. Thanks to the efforts of many groups, they are beginning to make a comeback

A group of Eastern Oysters on the floor of a tank